A weekly series about our food and sustainable agriculture.
Kendra Kimbirauskas grew up on a small farm in the Midwest watching her parents working long hours to make ends meet. With an intimate knowledge of the day-to-day struggles farmers face, after college she became an activist on the issues affecting small farms, working on factory farm issues in Iowa.
While there, she also spent time at Niman Ranch, working with a co-op that supplies pork to Chipotle restaurants. The experience of raising pigs outdoors on pasture resonated with her and in 2006 she decided that it was time to “walk her talk.” Putting her beliefs into action, she and her husband, Ivan Maluski, started a small, organic farm on a few acres in Colton, Oregon.
At Goat Mountain Pastured Meats they raise goats, whose milk Ivan uses to make cheese, along with chickens, horses, pigs and two rescued oxen. They are committed to farming in a way that provides high quality, healthy and affordable organic food while protecting the biodiversity of the land and its water.
Three years ago they decided to raise heritage breed pigs and began a breeding program, an unusual step since most farmers buy piglets from breeders. With a Large Black boar she shares with another farmer and two Tamworth sows, Kendra is committed to the strong genetics that she finds in these breeds, both having docile temperaments and producing tender, flavorful meat.
While she and Ivan have a ways to go to be able to farm full time, she’s still a farmer down to the soles of her boots, saying that it’s often hard to tear herself away from her animals to go into work.
With luck, soon she won’t have to.